As mass transit riders continue to enjoy a quicker commute with the Bx 12 Select Bus Service, business owners along the route are calling it quits.
Norman Ephron, longtime owner of Imperial Linoleum and Carpet Co. Inc., said within 30 days of the lane instillation, seven stores along E. Fordham Road were forced to close due to lack of business. He said the Select Bus Service is to blame.
“Why should customers come to Fordham Road if they can’t park,” the storeowner questioned, referencing the lane that eliminated 40 parking spaces from the heavily trafficked thoroughfare, including a handful in front of his 361 E. Fordham Road establishment.
Also concerned with the area’s immediate commerce decline is his landlord David Rose.
Upset over the latest stats, Rose explained that of the eight buildings he owns and controls in the affected area, three tenants returned their keys.
“The storeowners are saying they can’t afford to stay,” he explained.
After a recent walkthrough of the area, Community Board 6 district manager Ivine Galarza said she’s deeply troubled by the absence of business activity along the strip.
She stated, “It looks like a ghost town during the day.”
Ephron completely agrees.
After 40 years operating at the same site, he said he’s never once experienced the enormous decrease in business that’s occurred since the Bx12 express bus went into operation at the end of June.
“A lot of my business came from people picking up their carpet and taking it home. Now they can’t pick it up anymore.” His loading area now services the Bx 12.
Ephron said that also for the first time in four decades, nearly 90% of his 35-employee staff is working half days, down from their previous full-time hours.
“I don’t know who thought of the idea but they’re killing us,” he said. “I’ve been sitting her all day and haven’t seen a single customer.”
“We’re looking for anything that would relieve business hardship,” Galarza said. She is working to reinstate the parking along the Fordham Road/Pelham Parkway corridor.
Galarza said she expects to hear a response to the issue from both the 48th Precinct and the Department of Transportation soon.